Contiki Tours

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TypePrivately held company
Founded1962; 60 years ago (1962) in New Zealand
FounderJohn Anderson
HeadquartersAnaheim, California, US
Area served
ParentThe Travel Corporation

Contiki is a tour company that caters to 18- to 35-year-olds. It operates tours in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America, Africa, Middle East and Asia. It is a subsidiary of The Travel Corporation. Its tours historically had a reputation for partying.[1][2] However, in recent years the brand has evolved in many different directions, promoting wellness trips[3] vegan trips [4]and focussing more on culturally immersive experiences.[5]

Contiki claims to be the most popular youth travel company in the world, carrying over 150,000 18-to-35 year olds worldwide in 2007.[6] Contiki offers over 350 different tours in over 75 countries.[7]

Trips include a mix of sightseeing, free time, culture, socialising, and adventure.[6] The company offers various styles of trips, with the main difference between the styles being the accommodations used and the number of nights spent in each location. It owns its own properties across Europe for its travellers to stay in, including the Chateau De Cruix,[8] a 16th century castle in the Beaujolais wine region, and the Gasthof Schoneck[9] in the Austrian Tyrol.[6]

The name "Contiki" comes from the portmanteau 'Con' from the word 'Continent' and 'Tiki'; derived from the native New Zealand Maori good luck charm.[6] It can also be attributed to the New Zealand slang 'Tiki-tour' describing taking a longer route to a destination in order to explore.[10]


In 1962, when New Zealander John Anderson was alone and without much money he devised a plan so that he would not have to travel alone and could see Europe for free. He put a deposit on a minibus, gathered a group of people to travel with, and spent 12 weeks exploring Europe with his group. At the end of the trip, he unsuccessfully tried to sell the minibus. As a result, he decided to promote his Europe trip again, and this time he was able to fit two trips into the summer season. The first tours were booked by 19- to 29-year-olds, starting the tradition of Contiki Holidays being for youth travellers.[6][11]

In 1982, the company began offering tours in the United States. In 1984, it expanded to Australia. In 2009, it expanded to Asia. In 2013, it began tours in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Galapagos and in 2015, it expanded to Japan.[12]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "New Zealand's love affair with Contiki tours". Stuff. December 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Burnie, Alexandra (7 April 2014). "What really happens on a Contiki tour?". Herald Sun.
  3. ^ "Page not found - BETA _ British Educational Travel Association". {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Event Date: Sunday 16 August 2020". Archived from the original on 19 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Travel's Moment of Clarity_ Sober Tourism Is a Real Business".
  6. ^ a b c d e "Contiki: About Us".
  7. ^ "Contiki Reviews and Tours". TourRadar.
  8. ^ "Ever dreamt of living in a French chateau_ _ Home Beautiful Magazine Australia".
  9. ^ "Contiki's renovated Gasthof Schoneck in Austria looks unrecognisable".
  10. ^ "15 Kiwi slang words: A chocka tiki tour in jandals". The New Zealand Herald. 20 March 2014.
  11. ^ Anderson, John (2010). Only Two Seats Left: The Incredible Contiki Story. ISBN 9780646515885.
  12. ^ "Contiki: Our History".